One of the most intriguing concepts that go hand in hand with the multiverse is the idea of variants. First explored in Loki along with Tom Hiddleston’s various other selves, it has now been explored more than once. This round, fans will encounter or have encountered various alternate versions of Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen and Rachel McAdam’s characters in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
Before audiences came face to face with the most recent film, they fell in love with another project that explored alternate versions of a hero: Spider Man; No coming home. The film saw Tom Holland team up with Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire as they took on five former Spidey villains.
Unfortunately, the character variants of Multiverse of Madness don’t often interact with themselves for the duration of the film. Luckily, new art has surfaced that shows what it could have looked like.
4 Doctor Strange’s Team
Artist Karla Ortiz took to Twitter to share her concept art for the new Marvel Studios project Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
The first picture she share highlights four Doctor Stranges, each with different side-by-side designs in addition to a fourth Strange represented by a floating head in the background.
Ortiz mentioned how the purpose of the work was to “create hype and potentially inform new looks” internally, such as “The production was in its very early stages.”
“So excited to share with you all some of the work I’ve been doing for #DoctorStrange in the Multiverse of Madness over the next few days! Production was still in its early stages. [Marvel Studios’ Head of Visual Development] Ryan Meinerding asked me to do a poster that could be used to build hype and potentially inform new looks.
On the right side of the photo, a design very reminiscent of Defender Strange can be seen posing. The artist exclaims how “it was an incredible project in which I participated” and that this design “specifically [served] as an early inspiration for one of the main costumes that made it to the big screen: “
“This look, in particular, served as the initial inspiration for one of the main costumes that made it to the big screen… It was an incredible project that I was involved in, and I’m so proud of the work of the supervisor visual development @ IanJoynerArt and the whole team did it!
On the left side is a drawing that strong points what seems like a more disheveled look for the titular hero.
In the middle, fans can see Ortez’s “attempt for a ‘master costume.’ The artist admits that she “[regrets how she] was unable to complete the entire project” due to production pause due to COVID-19 in 2020:
“…close-ups of other looks, including an attempt at a ‘master costume’ for him. Being a part of this was an absolute joy! My only regret was not being able to complete the entire project . In 2020, COVID halted production work. By the time it restarted, I was working somewhere else.”
It also makes it easier to see the odd head in the background, which certainly has an ominous aura. Could this have been a precursor to the villainous force that is Sinister Strange?
Multiversal Doctor Strange Concept Art
Whenever a project messes with the multiverse, one thing is clear: the art book will undoubtedly be quite the journey. The amount of various Doctor Strange that have been designed and drawn is probably insane.
Despite what the art depicts, it’s important to note that this does not confirm that four Benedict Cumberbatches have ever shared the screen at the same time. The point was simply to illustrate a mood and help invoke the creativity and ideas of those lurking behind the scenes.
Sadly, there aren’t multiple generations of Doctor Strange portrayals to pull off like Spider-Man – so if something like that were to happen, it probably would’ve been all Cumberbatch.
When drawing the artwork above, one has to ask: what was the intention behind the menacing face behind them? Perhaps it was meant to illustrate how his character is seen as a threat to the multiverse. Or would there have been a variant of the titular hero at some point that would have served as the big bad?
Hopefully this complete artbook will arrive sooner rather than later.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is now playing in theaters around the world.